Hey ladies! Have you been struggling with the symptoms of hormone imbalance and know that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) could be just the thing to relieve them? But you’ve read or heard one too many Negative-Nellie stories? Never fear, we’re here to put your BHRT concerns to rest. We want you to get the relief you need and get back to living your best life!
Let’s start with the biggest BHRT myth of all and then move on to the most common BHRT concerns that plague women (and don’t need to).
The Biggest BHRT Myth – BHRT Isn’t Safe
If you’ve heard that BHRT isn’t safe, then you aren’t alone. It’s taken decades to restore the safe and effective reputation of Hormone Replacement Therapy after the media panic surrounding BHRT in 2002. Let’s get a reality check.
Firstly, there were flaws in how the Women’s Health Initiative’s study data was initially interpreted. The original report, which was ramped up by the media, stated that HRT could increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer in women who took a certain type of estrogen and a synthetic progestin for more than five years. The key word is “synthetic.” The study did not address bioidentical hormones.
Since then, the study has been re-evaluated. That particular study focused on women over 60, not peri-menopausal or newly menopausal women.
Secondly, the past two decades of research have shown that appropriately dosed and managed hormone replacement therapy, using bioidentical hormones, has significant long-term health benefits. For many women under 60, not taking HRT can actually increase the risk of developing heart disease and osteoporosis.
It’s also critical to consider the fact that not all hormone replacement therapies are the same. The best and safest hormone replacement therapies
- use bioidentical hormones – avoid synthetic hormones,
- include regular check-ins and monitoring,
- are supervised by a doctor with experience and training in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and
- have dosages individualized for your unique needs.
Feeling better about BHRT safety?
Let’s Move On to Other BHRT Concerns
If you’ve been suffering from severe menopause symptoms, then BHRT is a no-brainer. Many of the changes that BHRT can bring are well worth
- not having to change your sheets in the middle of the night,
- being able to focus enough to do your job again, and
- getting a good night’s rest!
But some of the changes you’ve heard your body undergoes after starting BHRT may be the cause of those “concerns” – and yes, they’re bothersome at first.
That’s because you’d naturally think that increasing the hormones that are too low, or completely depleted, would simply relieve your symptoms.
Yes and no. Once you and your doctor have stabilized your dosage, you should feel much better and notice menopausal symptoms retreating. However, the small caveat is this:
Because a significant hormonal transition occurs in the first 3-6 weeks after beginning your BHRT regime, you may also notice a few other symptoms popping up. They aren’t necessarily permanent. Some will go away on their own, while others can be treated with simple solutions.
We’ll look in turn at your seven BHRT concerns now.
1. Fluid Retention
I thought I was done with retaining fluids!
After the first BHRT pellet insertion, many women experience weight gain and water retention. This is because testosterone stimulates muscle growth, which causes water retention. You may notice an increase in your weight of 2-5 pounds. Don’t worry, though – it’s only water build-up, and it’s totally temporary.
2. Swelling of the Hands and Feet
Why am I puffing up like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man?!?
Swelling in the hands and feet is common in hot and humid weather. Again, don’t worry! The puffiness can be encouraged to lessen by
- increasing your water intake,
- reducing your salt intake,
- taking cider vinegar capsules daily, or
- taking a mild diuretic.
3. Concerns About Uterine Spotting and Bleeding
I thought I was done bleeding!
If you’re in peri-menopause, there’s no telling when your body may bleed. Periods can disappear for months and then return unexpectedly! If you’re spotting or bleeding in the first few months after a BHRT pellet insertion, there are a few possible causes.
If you’re taking progesterone and missing doses, or the dose isn’t high enough, you’ll need to talk with your practitioner about making adjustments.
It’s also possible that your uterus is just getting rid of excess tissue that’s been hanging out in there, and the BHRT got it moving again. Please don’t allow this BHRT concern to put you off getting the help you need. It’s nearly always not a significant problem.
4. Mood Swings and Irritability
I feel like I’m going to explode one minute, and then I’m laughing my head off the next!
Your hormones profoundly affect your emotional stability. If you’ve been hormone deficient, you were probably on an emotional roller coaster before you began BHRT. But if you weren’t already experiencing mood swings, then you may get a few until there are enough hormones in your system to stabilize you.
5. Facial Breakout
Yes. Pimples can happen. Remember that acne is associated with hormonal fluctuations – that’s why you get it when you’re a teenager, pregnant, and peri-menopausal.
If your body has been very deficient in testosterone, you’re probably going to have some short-term acne on your face.
The remedy for this concern? Get yourself set up with a good face cleansing routine, including astringents and toner. And if a good skincare regimen doesn’t do the trick, then we have other suggestions and possibly prescriptions to ease the acne.
6. Hair Thinning
What’s happening to my hair??
Thinning hair is a very rare side effect of BHRT and usually occurs in patients who over-convert testosterone to DHT. If you’re one of those people, don’t despair. A dosage adjustment will generally reduce or eliminate the problem. In rare cases, prescription medications may be necessary.
7. Hair Growth
Why is this hair on my chinny-chin-chin?
Testosterone can stimulate some growth of hair on your chin, chest, nipples, and/or lower abdomen. Whether this happens or not tends to come down to genetics. You may find you’ve to shave your legs more often or that you need to take the tweezers to errant hairs on your chin or nipples. A dosage adjustment generally reduces or eliminates the problem.
Have more concerns about BHRT?
We’re happy to answer any more questions or address any concerns you still have. We want you to feel confident about your decisions and we’ll work with you to find your best solutions. Don’t wait any longer – contact us for a consultation today!